Para Transpo should serve developmentally disabled, group says
People with cognitive disabilities should have access to Para Transpo bus service, group says
A group that represents people with cognitive disabilities wants its members to have access to Para Transpo services.
According to current rules, anyone who wants a ride with Para Transpo must have a physical disability.
Cooper Gage has worked part-time in the mail room at a bank in Gloucester for 10 years. He has a cognitive disability and got the job through Live Work Play, and he says it took him some time to figure out how to use the bus system to get there from his home in South Keys.
'It took a few weeks to know what bus to take'
"It took a few weeks, I must say, it took a few weeks to know what bus to take and what bus not to take, and get lost, but by the time everything was around I took the bus," Gage says.
"I was saying, what bus, what bus, where do I go to, what stop is there? And now the bus drivers are very helpful."
Judy Bernstein, a director at the Ottawa-Carleton Association for Persons with Development Disabilities, says that while Gage learned his route, other people with Down syndrome or other cognitive disabilities may never quite master taking the bus with transfers, timetables and routes that sometimes change.
"[For example], with all the construction, all of a sudden the bus lets them off two blocks away. If that were to happen to one of our guys, it would be really difficult," Bernstein says.
Parents of people with cognitive disabilities are often forced to drive them to work, Bernstein adds.
The city may look at adding people with cognitive disabilities to Para Transpo next year, Bernstein says.